How about movies on autism

Avatar for mamabearof2
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Registered: 08-30-2003
How about movies on autism
Sat, 10-04-2003 - 7:37pm
I found this website Autism in the Movies. Has anybody seen these movies and if so which do you recommend? I have only seen Change of Habit myself. Also have you seen other movies not listed below?

1. Backstreet Dreams

Stars: Brooke Shields, Sherilyn Fenn, Tony Fields, Burt Young, Anthony Franciosa

Released: 1990

Director: Rupert Hitzig

Length: 104 Minutes

A gangster, with apparent mafia connections, winds up taking care of his autistic son. The child displays many autistic behaviors, such as social withdrawal, does not speak, and rocks. A graduate student decides to help the child as well as help the father leave the mafia.

2. Change of Habit

Stars: Elvis Presley, Mary Tyler Moore, Jane Elliot, Barbara McNair

Released: 1969

Director: William Graham

Length: 97 Minutes

Elvis plays a physician who runs a medical clinic in a poor neighborhood. Three nuns are sent to assist Elvis in his medical practice. A parent brings her girl to the clinic for an evaluation and treatment. The girl is diagnosed as having autism because she rocks, does not want to be held, and does not respond to sounds. Elvis treats the girl, and she begins to break out of her autism.

3. House of Cards

Stars: Asha Menina, Kathleen Turner, Tommy Lee Jones, Esther Rolle

Released: 1993

Director: Michael Lessac

Length: 107 Minutes

A bright, young girl withdraws soon after her father is killed by falling off a cliff. She believes that by withdrawing socially and climbing tall structures, she will reunite with her father who she believes is near the moon. She exhibits many autistic characteristics, such as insistence on sameness, good coordination, lack of social interaction, and no language. At the end of the movie, the mother builds a circular tower which is similar to a tower the child built from playing cards. The mother climbs the tower with her daughter, and the girl comes out of her autistic-like state.

4. Rain Man

Stars: Dustin Hoffman, Tom Cruise, Valeria Golino

Released: 1988

Director: Barry Levinson

Length: 140 Minutes

A car dealer returns to his boyhood home soon after learning about his father's death. His father left a large sum of money to a benefactor, who he later discovers is left to his autistic brother, Raymond. Raymond was institutionalized soon after his mother's death because of the fear that he might accidentally hurt his younger brother. Raymond has many autistic features, such as perseverations, insistence on sameness, rocking, self-injury, and savant abilities.

Throughout the movie, the car dealer gets to know his brother during a cross-country car trip.

5. Silence (also known as Crazy Jack and The Boy)

Stars: Will Geer, Ellen Geer, Ian Geer, Richard Kelton

Released: 1974

Director: John Korty

Length: 99 Minutes

An autistic child is lost during a camping trip and is befriended by a hermit. The child leaves the hermit's house and is then faced with the dangers of the woods. He is later rescued.

6. The Boy Who Could Fly

Stars: Jay Underwood, Lucy Deakins, Fred Savage, Colleen Dewhurst, Fred Gwynne, Louise Fletcher

Released: 1986

Director: Nick Castle

Length: 114 Minutes

A teenager with autism is sent to live with his uncle after his parents die in an airplane crash. The teenager exhibits many features of autism such as social withdrawal, no languge, and stereotypic behaviors. A girl who lives in a house next door befriends the teenager. Initially, she becomes his friend, but later she becomes his tutor. After much one-on-one contact, the teenager becomes more aware of other people and starts to show emotions. Because of his uncle's alcohol problem, the teenager is sent to an institution. At the end of the movie, the teenager flew away to avoid being institutionalized.

Linda5Fburgerbear.jpg image by suzyqe1            &nb

Avatar for suitemadameblue
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Registered: 03-26-2003
Sat, 10-04-2003 - 8:27pm
I have seen Rain Man, the Boy Who Could Fly, and House of Cards. All very excellent movies --- as long as you look at the solely from the "Hollywood" viewpoint!! lol

The explanation of House of Cards does make it sound rather corny, but the girl's main concern and source of "trouble" is in the fact that she misses her father. She didn't see the accident where he fell of the cliff (they were all at a mission in S. America at the time, I believe), so she never really had that final closure. It's a very touching and moving movie, especially when watching everything the mother is going thru with the doctors, her child and herself (not to mention her family and friends). Still trying to find that one on DVD.

The Boy Who Could Fly is cute, but has this feeling of "after-school movie" about it. Still, anytime it comes on, I'll sit and watch the entire thing! lol

Another movie that I feel portrays an autistic child in a more realistic way is 'Mercury Rising' with Bruce Willis. (from ... Bruce Willis is an outcast FBI agent who is assigned to protect a 9 year old autistic boy who is the target for assassins after cracking a top secret government code.)


iVillage Member
Registered: 07-11-2003
Sat, 10-04-2003 - 10:20pm

Ya know, my partner and I were just talking about this the other night. Not the website, we didn't know that existed (care to share any links? LOL) but about movies with autism. I've seen most of the movies you mentioned and the only one that seems realistic to me without any major Hollywood add-ins (like flying away) is Rainman.

Avatar for mamabearof2
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Registered: 08-30-2003
Sat, 10-04-2003 - 11:14pm
Thank you for your inputs Carrie and Candes.

Candes, did you read the 2nd post from Carrie? Could the movie you were thinking of be 'Mercury Rising'. I have not seen that one either.

I was looking for movies so my DS can see what others might see in him to give him a better view also.

Today while he was bowling on his leauge there was a boy on his team that kept coming over talking to us and when the kid went to bowl my DH whispers, "Does he seem a little strange to you?" As far as I know this kid does not have disorders but who am I to say for sure. Anyway my response was not to be mean but instead have my DH think about what he said. My reply to him was, "That is what some people say about our son!" and left it as that. DH wanted to know who had said it about DS but all he has to do is listen to others. It is heartbreaking the looks he gets at times.

Candes the link on the movies is:

There was also a neat overview of good jobs for the spectrum and web design and computers are on the list. I showed DS and he was excited. He is getting an A in web design in high school and the work is not modified for him yet.

If you are interested that link is:



Linda5Fburgerbear.jpg image by suzyqe1            &nb

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Sat, 10-04-2003 - 11:54pm


I have heard of most of those, but not the first 2.

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-11-2003
Sun, 10-05-2003 - 4:24am

Oh man, see what I get for not paying close enough attention?